Friday, July 30, 2010

Online with God, A 90 Day Devotional - Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Zonderkidz (April 9, 2010) 

***Special thanks to Pam Mettler of Zondervan for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Laurie’s first published work was a note passed to a boy in elementary school. You would have thought that this most embarrassing moment would have stopped her writing career. But instead, Laurie is the author of thirty five books and author/illustrator of two more. Laurie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and two daughters.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (April 9, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310716152
ISBN-13: 978-0310716150

Press the browse button to view the first chapter:





My thoughts:
This book was nothing less than I expected. It's a great way to guide young girls as they partake in the every-day-ness (I couldn't think of the way to put this :o/) of the internet. Wonderful guide and devotional!



Thursday, July 29, 2010

Glaen - Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

The Barnabas Agency (February 14, 2010) 

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings - Senior Media Specialist - The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Maybe it’s because his dad was a lawyer and state legislator, or maybe it’s because he grew up in Alabama with something to prove, or maybe he just found a good use for his self-proclaimed ADHD, but whatever the cause, Fred Lybrand has become a careful thinker in a number of disciplines. If you are looking at a topic with Dr. Lybrand, then you are guaranteed to see things like you never have before. “I finally discovered that I’m one of those unfocused students that just likes to learn everything. I guess God made me to be a knowledge broker—I learn some hopefully useful information and then give it to others who need it,” Lybrand describes of his own love for learning and teaching.

Lybrand attended the University of Alabama and majored in English Literature, with a double-minor emphasis in speech communication and fiction writing. He went on to teach the introductory speech communications class while also attending law school at Alabama. A hunger to understand the Word of God, however, led him to withdraw in order to pursue theological studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. Lybrand graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1989 and received a doctorate from Phoenix Seminary, 2007.

In January 2010, Dr. Lybrand retired from a 24-year career as a pastor of two churches in Texas. At Midland Bible Church he helped build a church which has launched ministries in several continents (including successful church-planting efforts in Uganda), as well as serving as a founding board (and faculty) member for Midland Classical Academy, a Socratic-method based high school. The school provides a “classical education” focused on teaching students through the Socratic Method using classical books, interactive science and math, logic, fine arts, and the creative process—all built on the foundation of the Bible. At Northeast Bible Church (Evangelical Free Church) in the San Antonio area, Dr. Lybrand helped redesign the church to grow as a disciple-making center for promoting the grace of God. Teaching and counseling in the church context has been a long-term focus of Lybrand’s labors.

Visit the author's website.



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: The Barnabas Agency (February 14, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0578046520
ISBN-13: 978-0578046525

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Mother called the week before I met Glaen Breuch.


“So, that's it?” I said with a tinge of anger.


“I'm afraid it is, dear,” a soft and matter-of-fact voice responded.


“Mom, you just want a divorce? You don't want to work at it or get some counseling or something?” I pleaded.


“No Annie, it's over. I've tried and tried, but your father just isn't what I want for the rest of my life. Can't you just be happy for me?” Mother asked.


Suddenly Annie found herself floating, feather-like, away from the phone and experiencing what most people think a drowning person experiences; a life full of joy and promise, in the last moments of gasping for air, she sees a replay of that life. Annie saw the day her baby sister came home from the hospital. Mom and Dad were so happy, and Annie as a little girl couldn't find her sister's feet; she kept looking under the baby-carrier instead of under the blanket. They all laughed for days.


Next, Annie remembered her granddaddy's death and how her mother was so kind to her dad, and how her dad praised mother to everyone in the small town where he grew up. Other memories flooded her mind, moving from ancient black-and-white scenes to vivid full-color images. Most recently she had been in church, seated between her parents, and basking in the wonder of family; hoping for a marriage like theirs. But Annie snapped awake.


“Be happy for you?” I said with amazement. “How can I be happy for you? You are running away to ruin your relationship with Dad and mess up our family forever. You seem happy enough. I don't think you need my help.”


“Annie, my relationship with your dad is already ruined. Honey, the one way I've failed you was to not really help you understand about love. You were always your Daddy's girl anyway, so I never could really tell you how I felt. I don't think I understand relationships, but I'm going to learn about them. Honey, I know you don't understand relationships; just look at what's happened with your boyfriends.”


“Boyfriends?” Annie thought to herself. There were just two; one in high school and one in college. Both of the boys were nice guys who doted, and spent, on Annie. She just wanted to have fun, and she did, for a while. In the same six month period with each guy, Rodney and Pierre, they both turned to the same serious conversation with her about “dating just each other.” Annie could still feel the panic as her stomach tightened and her lungs closed off from the air in the room. She had mysteriously decided she didn't like either of them; and in time she believed it deeply. The only hint she had that perhaps a mistake lived on, was that she saved the letter from Pierre in her dresser drawer back home. Both guys were married now, at least she had heard about their engagements. But now the thought of her past brought Annie back to the room, and to the moment. “Mother, what about your relationship with God? What about your marriage vow before Him?” I asked as a sincere question.


“God wants us happy, dear. I've been miserable for years. I love you children, and now that you're grown, I can follow my dreams. I felt dead, but now I feel alive. Annie, I know it is hard to understand, but I just know God is in this because I'm so wonderfully happy now.”


“Mom…I love you, but what you're doing can't be right. I'm not going to do this to my family,” I said.


“Well, good luck, Honey. I'm going out to dinner and I haven't finished dressing,” she said in a mother-knows-best way.


“Could I give you one piece of advice that would have changed all of this for me?”


“Sure Mom,” I said.


“Annie dear, be sure you marry the right person; don't stand in your wedding dress with doubts in your bouquet.”


We hung up, and I cried for a long time before I could pray. “God, my mother says she doesn't understand relationships, and she's my mom! Then she says I don't understand them either. Please help me to understand.”


Back then I had no idea that prayer was the sort of thing God took seriously.

___________________________________________________


Glaen Breuch was unusual, even for a college professor.


It was only two weeks before that I had signed up for his Masters class called, “Original Non-Fiction.” Jennah and I had been sitting at Polmier's Coffee Shoppe, a little place with hardwood floors full of serious students and a few silly girls. “What are you going to take for your last class?” Jennah asked. I was irritated. “Gee, Jennah, I just decided now to take classes at all.” She knew how upset I was about Mom and Dad's sudden divorce announcement, so she ignored it and asked again.


“I've prayed all week about it. I wish I could take a class on how relationships really work, but nothing in school is ever practical.” I still remember saying those words when Glaen walked in the Shoppe. He had striking white hair that made a great wave until it crashed above his right eye. Wire-rimmed glasses, herringbone jacket, too many books; all these made Glaen look like the ideal professor. He insisted on being called Glaen rather than “professor” or “mister,” but I didn't know why until months later.


Exactly fifteen years ago I saw Glaen in the Shoppe. Now I am about to see him again. I bet he hasn't changed a bit, but of course how could he?


That day in Polmier's, Glaen walked up to us as an answer to prayer. “Hi ladies,” he said. “I couldn't help overhearing your conversation about classes. I'm a new instructor here at St. Michael's, but I'm a bit late in arriving.” Suddenly his awkward grasp gave way and all of his books and papers clamored to the wood floor. Only one pink sheet remained in his hand. “Oh, here it is,” ignoring the pile at his feet. “I'm teaching this class over the next two semesters. If you're interested, just show up as it says here.” With that Glaen gathered his books and left the Shoppe, cluttered but unembarrassed. From that moment on, all I could think about was how curious both the class and the professor seemed. I was in!


“Welcome class. My name is Glaen, pronounced with a long 'a' as in 'gain.'” He started the Original Non-Fiction class, ONF101 as the flier labeled it, right on time. Without skipping a beat he handed out the syllabus and asked with eyes that swept the room, “Are there any questions before we begin?”


I looked around totally bewildered as I raised my hand. “Yes, and your name is Anne?” he asked. “Well, they call me Annie, but I do have a question,” I said.


“OK Annie, what's your question?” I was still in a self-absorbed mood, so I put a little “dumb blonde” in my voice. “Like…ah…I'm the only student in the room…and, ah…is the class going to make or something?” I wanted to ask why in heaven's name he was acting like the room was full, but it seemed like a dumb move on the first day.


“Well Annie, since it's a new class the powers-that-be have given me permission to teach it even if you're the only one. Ready to start?” he asked, taking my silence for a “yes.”


Glaen wrote the following on the board and asked, “What do you think?”


“JUST DEFINITIONS EITHER PREVENT OR PUT AN END TO DISPUTES”

- Emmons


“Who's Emmons?” I said.


“Does it matter? What if I said it was written by Poe, or Shelley, or Whitman? Would it make a difference? Is it what is said or who said it?” suddenly Glaen had me thinking.


“I guess it doesn't matter,” I said.


“Then what do you think?” he returned.


“I think it sounds reasonable,” I admitted.


“Great!” Glaen took off with a quick lecture on the importance of words and their meanings. He finally got to the point.


“Annie, I've watched conflict for a long time. Seldom is there a conflict that can withstand agreed-to definitions. The reason is pretty simple: Truth still wins out. It's bad enough when two people disagree about what is expected in a relationship. It's even worse when they aren't using the same language. A dictionary or the question, 'What do you mean?' can do more to end conflict than almost anything else on the planet. One of my favorite authors once wrote, 'Truth is the lifeblood of real relationships.'”


“Why?” I asked.


“Well, let me ask you a question. If you change your behavior from how you really are to what they want; is it you relating, or is it the character you're playing?”


With that Glaen started to put his books in a much-needed satchel.


“Is that it?” I asked.


“There's nothing else to know for today,” he said.


“Nothing else to know! What about non-fiction? What about writing? What's the assignment?” I said with a little contempt.


“Oh, that,” he said flatly.


“Well, you need to write an original work of non-fiction, offering original insights on a useful topic. It doesn't matter what the topic is, but I would suggest you write about something you care about, something you'd like to understand. I'll be in this room every week at this same moment. I'm available to help you when you want it.”


Glaen looked at me for a long time, staring right through me with his steady blue eyes, framed by his white hair and white button-down shirt.


“Annie,” he added. “Decide on your topic by next week and I'll show you the secret of good non-fiction. There's a book in your future, and I want to show it to you.” Glaen turned and moved out of the room with the grace of a ballet dancer. I just sat there for a long time before I left. The Coffee Shoppe was finally calling.



SUMMARY

Truth is the lifeblood of real relationships.

My thoughts:
This is a really great book that discusses dating vs. courtship. Do you know the difference? I guess I had never really thought about it. But it definitely made me while I was reading this. I think it's a wonderful way to go and honestly, I think that's the way I went into my relationship with my husband. Great book for parents and older children!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: John - Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, for The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


A man who has given his life to a deep examination of the Word of God, Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher, former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago and the author of more than 150 books. For over thirty years, millions have come to rely on the timeless wisdom of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s “Be” Commentary series. Dr. Wiersbe’s commentary and insights on Scripture have helped readers understand and apply God’s Word with the goal of life transformation. Dubbed by many as the “pastor’s pastor,” Dr. Wiersbe skillfully weaves Scripture with historical explanations and thought-provoking questions, communicating the Word in such a way that the masses grasp its relevance for today.

Dr. Warren Wiersbe’s commentaries and his world-renowned knowledge of God’s Word can now be enjoyed in a format that allows everyone to enjoy spending time getting to know the Savior. David C Cook plans to release additional volumes in the Wiersbe Bible Study Series over the next few years.

Product Details:

List Price: $8.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434765075
ISBN-13: 978-1434765079

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Lesson 1

God in the Flesh

(JOHN 1—2)

Before you begin …

• Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and wisdom as you go through this lesson.

• Read John 1—2. This lesson references chapters 1–2 in Be Alive. It will be helpful for you to have your Bible and a copy of the commentary available as you work through this lesson.


Getting Started


From the Commentary


Much as our words reveal to others our hearts and minds, so Jesus Christ is God’s “Word” to reveal His heart and mind to us. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). A word is composed of letters, and Jesus Christ is “Alpha and Omega” (Rev. 1:11), the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. According to Hebrews 1:1–3, Jesus Christ is God’s last Word to mankind, for He is the climax of divine revelation.

—Be Alive, page 20


1. As you read John 1:1–2, what stands out to you about the description of

“the Word”? What does it mean that the Word was “with” God? That the

Word “was” God? How does this opening contrast with that of the other

three gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, and Luke)? What does this tell us

about John, the writer of this gospel?


More to Consider: Why do you think John refers to Jesus as “the Son

of God” so many times in his gospel? (See John 1:34, 49; 3:18; 5:25;

10:36; 11:4, 27; 19:7; 20:31.)


2. Choose one verse or phrase from John 1—2 that stands out to you.

This could be something you’re intrigued by, something that makes you

uncomfortable, something that puzzles you, something that resonates with

you, or just something you want to examine further. Write that here.


Going Deeper


From the Commentary


Life is a key theme in John’s gospel; it is used thirty-six times. What are the essentials for human life? There are at least four: light (if the sun went out, everything would die), air, water, and food. Jesus is all of these! He is the Light of Life and the Light of the World (John 8:12). He is the “Sun of righteousness” (Mal. 4:2). By His Holy Spirit, He gives us the “breath of life” (John 3:8; 20:22), as well as the Water of Life (John 4:10, 13–14; 7:37–39). Finally, Jesus is the Living Bread of Life that came down from heaven (John 6:35ff.). He not only has life and gives life, but He is life (John 14:6).

—Be Alive, page 22


3. As you go through the gospel of John, underline the references to “life.” Why do you think John’s gospel touches on this theme so frequently? How do the themes of “light” and “life” relate to one another in John 1?


From the Commentary


John the Baptist is one of the most important persons in the New Testament. He is mentioned at least eighty-nine times. John had the special privilege of introducing Jesus to the nation of Israel. He also had the difficult task of preparing the nation to receive its Messiah. He called them to repent of their sins and to prove that repentance by being baptized and then living changed lives. John summarized what John the Baptist had to say about Jesus Christ (John 1:15–18).

—Be Alive, page 24


4. What is significant about the gospel writer’s mention of John the Baptist (John 1:6–28)? Why would this have been important to the early believers?


From Today’s World


Although the skepticism of the modern age has diminished their impact, self-proclaimed modern “prophets” continue to speak about the end of the world (or other events) as if they have exclusive insight into “insider information” from a source they often claim is God Himself. Some gain a following as people clamor for wisdom about why the world is in its current state. Whether out of fear or frustration, they look to the so-called prophets for answers.


5. Why are people so fascinated (whether they agree or disagree) with modern prophets? Do you agree that people today are more skeptical about prophets and their reliability? Why or why not? How does today’s culture compare to the culture in which John the Baptist appeared? What does this suggest about the role of prophecy in modern Christianity?


From the Commentary


The people of Israel were familiar with lambs for the sacrifices. At Passover, each family had to have a lamb, and during the year, two lambs a day were sacrificed at the temple altar, plus all the other lambs brought for personal sacrifices. Those lambs were brought by people to people, but here is God’s Lamb, given by God to humankind! Those lambs could not take away sin, but the Lamb of God can take away sin. Those lambs were for Israel alone, but this Lamb would shed His blood for the whole world!

—Be Alive, pages 27–28


6. How might John’s Jewish followers have responded when he announced Jesus as the “Lamb of God”? Why is John the Baptist’s testimony important? How does John’s description of the “Spirit” compare to the coming of the Holy Spirit as recorded in the book of Acts? What does this teach us about the Holy Spirit?


From the Commentary


“We have found the Messiah!” was the witness Andrew gave to Simon. Messiah is a Hebrew word that means “anointed,” and the Greek equivalent is “Christ.” To the Jews, it was the same as “Son of God” (see Matt. 26:63–64; Mark 14:61–62; Luke 22:67–70). In the Old Testament, prophets, priests, and kings were anointed and thereby set apart for special service. Kings were especially called “God’s anointed” (1 Sam. 26:11; Ps. 89:20); so, when the Jews spoke about their Messiah, they were thinking of the king who would come to deliver them and establish the kingdom. There was some confusion among the Jewish teachers as to what the Messiah would do. Some saw Him as a suffering sacrifice (as in Isa. 53), while others saw a splendid king (as in Isa. 9 and 11). Jesus had to explain even to His own followers that the cross had to come before the crown, that He must suffer before He could enter into His glory (Luke 24:13–35).

—Be Alive, page 29


7. Why were the Jews expecting the Messiah to appear as a king? What does this tell us about the culture and circumstance of the Jews at the time? How might the Jewish leaders have received the pronouncement of Jesus as the Messiah? There had been others who claimed messiahship prior to Jesus’ arrival. What argument does John make in chapter 1 to support the fact that Jesus is the One they’ve been waiting for?


From the Commentary


“The third day” means three days after the call of Nathanael (John 1:45–51). Since that was the fourth day

of the week recorded in John (John 1:19, 29, 35, 43), the wedding took place on “the seventh day” of this “new creation week.” Throughout his gospel, John makes it clear that Jesus was on a divine schedule, obeying the will of the Father. Jewish tradition required that virgins be married on a Wednesday, while widows were married on a Thursday. Being the “seventh day” of John’s special week, Jesus would be expected to rest, just as God rested on the seventh day (Gen. 2:1–3). But sin had interrupted God’s Sabbath rest, and it was necessary for both the Father and the Son to work (John 5:17; 9:4). In fact, John recorded two specific miracles that Jesus deliberately performed on Sabbath days (John 5; 9). At this wedding, we see Jesus in three different roles: the Guest, the Son, and the Host.

—Be Alive, pages 35–36


8. Read John 2:1–11. Why do you think the Scriptures record this as Jesus’ first miracle? What is the significance of turning water into wine? Of the timing of the miracle?


More to Consider: Moses’ first miracle was a plague—turning water into blood (Ex. 7:19ff.), which speaks of judgment. How does Jesus’ first miracle speak of grace?


From the Commentary


Jesus revealed His zeal for God first of all by cleansing the temple (John 2:13–17). The priests had established a lucrative business of exchanging foreign money for Jewish currency and also selling the animals needed for the sacrifices. No doubt, this “religious market” began as a convenience for the Jews who came long distances to worship in the temple, but in due time the “convenience” became a business, not a ministry. The tragedy is that this business was carried on in the court of the Gentiles in the temple, the place where the Jews should have been meeting the Gentiles and telling them about the one true God. Any Gentile searching for truth would not likely find it among the religious merchants in the temple.

—Be Alive, page 41


9. Why was Jesus so upset about the money changers? (See John 2:12–16.) What is significant about Jesus’ comment in verse 19? How does this foreshadowing help us to see God’s divine timetable for Jesus’ earthly work?


From the Commentary


While in Jerusalem for the Passover, Jesus performed miracles that are not given in detail in any of the Gospels. It must have been these signs that especially attracted Nicodemus (John 3:2). Because of the miracles, many people professed to believe in Him, but Jesus did not accept their profession. No matter what the people themselves said or others said about them. He did not accept human testimony.

—Be Alive, page 44


10. Why didn’t Jesus accept human testimony? What does John mean when he writes, “He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man” (2:25)? What does this say about Jesus’ feelings toward those who followed Him because of His miracles?


Looking Inward


Take a moment to reflect on all that you’ve explored thus far in this study of John 1—2. Review your notes and answers and think about how each of these things matters in your life today.


Tips for Small Groups: To get the most out of this section, form pairs or trios and have group members take turns answering these questions. Be honest and as open as you can in this discussion, but most of all, be encouraging and supportive of others. Be sensitive to those who are going through particularly difficult times and don’t press for people to speak if they’re uncomfortable doing so.


11. How do you respond to the different descriptions of Jesus in John 1 (the Word, the Lamb, the Son of God)? In what ways does the father/son imagery connect with you? Why is it important for you to know Jesus was God’s Son and not just a prophet sent to preach good news?


12. In what ways do you see your own life as a “light” to those around you? How have others been light to you? What are some ways you’ve struggled to be a light to others? How can the picture of Jesus as the light inspire you to be a light to others?


13. What sort of “Messiah” do you think you’d be hoping for if you were among the Jewish people before and during Jesus’ time? In what ways might you have been pleasantly surprised by the way the Messiah arrived? In what ways might you have been disappointed? How do you see the Messiah’s role in your life today? In what ways is Jesus’ role like that of a king? Of a servant?


Going Forward


14. Think of one or two things that you have learned that you’d like to work on in the coming week. Remember that this is all about quality, not quantity. It’s better to work on one specific area of life and do it well than to work on many and do poorly (or to be so overwhelmed that you simply don’t try). Do you want to know more about John’s description of Jesus as “the Word”? Do you want to better understand the Jews’ expectation about the Messiah? Be specific. Go back through John 1—2 and put a star next to the phrase or verse that is most encouraging to you. Consider memorizing this verse.


Real-Life Application Ideas: John the Baptist contrasts his method of baptism with Jesus’ in 1:26–34. How well do you know your church’s stance on water baptism? Learn what your church teaches on this

important topic. Consider what baptism has meant to you. Or, if you haven’t yet been baptized, consider talking with your pastor about being baptized.


Seeking Help


15. Write a prayer below (or simply pray one in silence), inviting God to work on your mind and heart in those areas you’ve previously noted. Be honest about your desires and fears.


Notes for Small Groups:

• Look for ways to put into practice the things you wrote in the Going Forward section. Talk with other group members about your ideas and commit to being accountable to one another.

• During the coming week, ask the Holy Spirit to continue to reveal truth to you from what you’ve read and studied.

• Before you start the next lesson, read John 3—4. For more in-depth lesson preparation, read chapters

3–4, “A Matter of Life and Death” and “The Bad Samaritan,” in Be Alive.



My thoughts:
I love learning more about Jesus and learning how to interpret the Bible. It's not always easy you know. John has always been one who captured my interest also...so this was a great book for me. Wonderful study!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Believe

believe: [bih-leev] 
– verb 1. to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so 2. to have confidence or faith in the truth of (a positive assertion, story, etc.); give credence to.

This is a pretty simple word.

But it's actually one of the most complicated things to actually do. You have to put your entire way of thinking in the hands of the unknown. And that's where faith steps in.

faith: [feyth]
- noun 1.confidence or trust in a person or thing

Let me tell you why this is on my mind. I was just reading an article about how the in the state of Louisiana there is a school board that wants to start teaching Creationism to students.*  Reading the comments left by people really stunned me. I never realized just how many people aren't believers. And when I use the term believers I mean believers of Jesus Christ and the Bible. That's just for clarification in case I am somehow confusing.

I'm a Christian and I believe what the Bible states.

1 First God made heaven & earth 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters Genesis 1:1-2

I have faith that God created me and all living things. No, I have not seen Him physically. But everyday I relish the thought that He created all the wonders I see. When I look at the blue skies and clouds, the trees, when I listen to the birds chirp...when I stare up into the dark night sky filled with stars. I am in awe. Tears fill my eyes at His amazing works. Through these things I see Him daily. I'm not saying that there was no evolution involved, because He is so great that He can make anything happen...and if it was His will for things to change so be it. Now that's NOT saying I think we evolved from monkeys. Nope, I don't believe that.

I have some friends who don't believe in God. I respect their right to have an opinion. But I think they're wrong. I never want to offend anyone but I always want to ask them why they don't believe. Is it that hard for them to have faith in something unseen?

I always want to ask what's so wrong with believing in God? You know there are a lot of people out there who really disparage those who are Christians, call them crazy and such.

I mean my thing is if you don't believe in God and the thought of having an afterlife in Heaven, do you just believe you live and die and then ... nothing?

I don't want nothing.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:1-3

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Revelation 7:15-17

This is what we are promised. Doesn't it sound wonderful? I think it does. I don't fear death because I know one day I'll be with those I love again.

For those non-believers, why not believe? If you believe in nothing than you have nothing. But if you do believe you have hope, love, grace, forgiveness.

This has been on my mind for awhile and that article just set it off. I'm not judging anyone, but I felt I needed to say it. I want everyone to have that knowledge that there is more after Earth, a spiritual life. Something better, that'll we'll only know when the time comes.

*I'm not saying one way or another whether or not that school board should teach creationism in public schools, but I will say that when they decided to separate church and state things started to go downhill. Maybe things need to be rethought.

Total Pillow Review & Giveaway

Total Pillow

Total Pillow
VERSATILE TRANSFORMING PILLOW Cradles you with Comfort While Asleep and Awake

Most people spend approximately one-third of their lives asleep on their pillow, however the new Total Pillow has uses for the two-thirds of time spent awake.

There are pillows for all types of issues but no one pillow that bridges all conditions, until now. The Total Pillow™ is for use overnight, on the couch, sitting at your desk, driving, while on a plane or train, in college dorms, or just while watching television. This donut-shaped pillow transforms in just seconds to more than five supportive shapes for customized relief. The patent pending locking technology enables the Total Pillow to support the neck, lower back, ankles and knees.

"Consumers own many different pillows for different applications, identifying the need for a multipurpose pillow solution." said Steve Heroux, CEO of Hampton Direct. "The Total Pillow transforms into five different shapes to answer a wide range of conditions."

The Total Pillow's ergonomic design allows your body to be cradled in support whether you're a side sleeper and like support between your knees and/or ankles or are a frequent traveler. It's also great for the businessperson, who needs lumbar support for the long periods of time spent seated.

Available for $19.99, The Total Pillow and can be ordered online at www.buytotalpillow.com.

Hampton Direct, Inc. is a leading international importer and distributor of consumer products. The Vermont-based company's offerings include common household problem solving products that includes the As Seen On TV Wonder Hanger®, Twin Draft Guard® and Total Pillow®.- blurb from Total Pillow

Total PillowI was so excited to get this pillow because it was supposed to help with lumbar support. Sitting at a computer for any length of time can sure do a number. And I have had backaches since I had the kids. So the first thing I did when I got it was put it behind me. Ahhhhhh!!! Oh boy it felt good. It gave a great amount of support but wasn't hard feeling. It's filled with microbeads and one side has a soft flexible material and the other side is a super soft fleece. Then I tried it under my tush. Which I didn't need it for anything other than a little height. It did make it easier to get out from the chair. :)

Total Pillow
Then I tried to do it in this position behind your neck. Now, I personally didn't like this much. I thought it felt kinda tight. BUT my daughter and son tried it like that and loved it.They have a lot of fun twisting it and feeling it's squishiness. It's a fun feeling. LOL Matthew loves grabbing it and laying in the floor with it and his blankie.

I would recommend this to anyone. It's an awesome pillow!

Want to win it?
Just leave me a comment below telling me why you think you'd like it.

For additional entries, do the following and make sure and leave a comment for each.

* Follow & Tweet about it @lesleypeck

* Follow me using Google Follower

* "Like" Dragonflies 'n Daydreams on Facebook

* Subscribe to receive updates via email


Giveaway ends on August 11th at 11:59 PM EST. Winner will be chosen using Random.org.


*Disclaimer: This is a Mama Buzz review. The product was provided by: Total Pillow for this review. Opinions stated above are my own*


The Skin You’re In - Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Zonderkidz (April 9, 2010) 

***Special thanks to Pam Mettler of Zondervan for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Nancy Rue has written over 100 books for girls, is the editor of the Faithgirlz Bible, and is a popular speaker and radio guest with her expertise in tween and teen issues. She and husband Jim have raised a daughter of their own and now live in Tennessee.


Visit the author's website.


Product Details:

List Price: $7.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (April 9, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310719992
ISBN-13: 978-0310719991

Press the browse button to view the first chapter:


My thoughts:
This is an awesome book! I have a young daughter who is already being influenced by television and her peers at school. I think she's beautiful just the way she is. Yes, she may be a little on the skinny side but she's perfect to me. When she looks in the mirror she thinks her brown hair should be blonde and she needs to have a different look and different clothes. She's not even 7 yet! That's so scary to me. What have we been pushing at these young girls? And the really bad part is it's just going to get worse. This will be a great book for helping her to realize the beauty in what she has.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Sweat, Blood, and Tears - Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, for The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Xan Hood is an author and speaker ministering to young men between the ages of 18 and 25. He is the co-founder and co-director of Training Ground in Colorado Springs where he disciples young men through their program in work, wilderness, and worship (www.trainingground.com). He has also written for New Man magazine and Discipleship Journal. Xan began working with young men in Tennessee and in youth groups in Nashville and Knoxville. He and his wife live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with their first child.


Visit the author's website.


Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434766810
ISBN-13: 978-1434766816

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


GEAR

You would be amused to see me, broad sombrero hat, fringe and beaded buckskin shirt, horse hide chaparajos or riding trousers, and cowhide boots, with braided bridle and silver spurs.

Theodore Roosevelt


I had always heard that Theodore Roosevelt was a tough, hardy “man’s man” sort of guy: a hunter, outdoorsman, activist, soldier, explorer, naturalist, and “rough rider.” But it wasn’t always so. Much like me, he was raised a refined, tame city boy, a member of a wealthy, powerful family with political influence. He was a sickly, asthmatic youngster who at the age of twenty-three still appeared boyish and underdeveloped. Both the press and his fellow New York state

assemblymen made light of his high-pitched voice and “dandified” clothing, calling him names like “Jane-Dandy” and “Punkin-Lily.”2 He was what we now refer to as a “pretty boy.”


It seems Theodore knew he needed to escape the confines of the city, to be tested and initiated beyond his Jane-Dandy world. There was only one direction to go: west.


“At age twenty-five, on his "first trip to the Dakota badlands in 1883, Roosevelt purchased a ranch, bought a herd of cattle, hired ranch hands, and, spending considerable time there, began to develop his Western image.”4 It is said he took rides “of seventy miles or more in a day, hunting hikes of fourteen to sixteen hours, stretches in the saddle in roundups of as long as forty hours,” pushing himself physically and mentally.5


Within two weeks of moving to Colorado, I drove up alone to the Orvis store in Denver to purchase a complete set of official Orvis gear: waders, boots, vest, and a fly rod. I had come to the West to bond with earth, wind, and rivers that I could fly-fish—and to find God. The fishing needed to be done in official Orvis gear—only the best.


You see, coming from a town of status and wealth, the type of gear you chose was very important. It needed to function, but it also needed to make you look good so you could feel good while looking good.


In my eyes Orvis was the status symbol of real and serious fly fishermen, the hallmark of class. I stocked up on floatant, little boxes, nippers, and line—all Orvis products and logos, of course. I paid with a new credit card and walked out.


While Theodore would become a great, brave man, his first attempts out West were about as comical as my own. It is written that he “began to construct a new physical image around appropriately virile Western decorations and settings.” These photographs show him posing “in a fringed buckskin outfit, complete with hunting cap, moccasins, cartridge belt, silver dagger, and rifle.”6 In a letter to his sister back East, he bragged, “I now look like a regular cowboy dandy, with all my equipments finished in the most expensive style.”


Though he looks like a young man in a Halloween costume, something much deeper than child’s play was occurring. A rich city boy was exploring another side of himself. The costumes, however foolish they appeared at the time, were a part of this becoming and would, in time, become him.


I was also searching for a new image, one more closely connected with nature. In his book Iron John, Robert Bly writes, “Some say that the man’s task in the first half of his life is to become bonded to matter: to learn a craft, become friends with wood, earth, wind, or fire.”8 I had yet to experience that. Ralph Lauren Polo shirts and a posh lifestyle were simply not enough. And while it’s likely that neither of us could have verbalized it at the time, Theodore and I were learning that a man had to find something away from all of it. I think his fringed buckskin and my Orvis gear were safe compromises between the worlds we were straddling.


A week after I bought my Orvis gear, I drove about an hour away to the South Platte River. An Internet search revealed that I could quickly access it from the road. On my way I stopped at a little fly shop in Woodland Park, Colorado. A retired-looking man had blessed my obvious naïveté but left the teaching to a sheet of paper, diagrammed for a nymph-dropper rig. He made a few fly suggestions and sent me on my way with the paper and a pat on the back. It was time to become Brad Pitt: Orvis-endorsed, perched on a rock, waiting for a fish.


I arrived on the water’s edge at about 2 p.m. Like a warrior dressing for battle, I donned my Orvis gear and set to work on the nymph-dropper rig. About an hour later, after clamping on weights, indicator, and tying two flies onto the razor-thin line, it looked like I’d tied my grandmother’s collection of jewelry to a string. I stood in the middle of the river, flung the line out, and whipped it back and forth, feeling good and enjoying the four count rhythm.


Though I filled the hours with flipping and whipping, I could not seem to hook a fish. Were they in the rapids? The calm water? Should I cast upstream or downstream? The paper didn’t say. It didn’t help that every few minutes I would get caught on a branch, or grass or algae would get on the flies, tangling them with knots. It was getting dark, and I was getting lonely and frustrated at Orvis, God, and myself.



But there came a last minute hope: I remembered Dan Allender telling a story at a leadership conference about going fly-fishing with his son. As an unsuccessful day of fishing came to a close, he told his son they needed to call it a day. But his son kept fishing, and then, on the fifth and final cast, as all hope was fading like the sun—BAM!—a massive trout on his fly rod. It was a miracle. Dan concluded his speech with this lesson: “God is the God of the fifth cast … He comes through in the end.”


And so I began my count. Okay, Lord, I prayed. This is for You. Help me fish. Catch me a trout. One cast … nothing. Second cast … nothing. Third cast … nothing. Cast again … nothing. God of the fifth cast … not for me. Eleventh? Nope. I kept going. God of the seventeenth cast … God of the twenty-second cast …


Before long, darkness covered me, and I could no longer see my orange indicator. It was over. There would be no fish that day.


I stood all alone in the middle of the river, holding my empty net. There wasn’t a soul in sight—not a fish, not even God. It was haunting. I demanded an explanation. Where are the fish? Where are You? Just one, God. All I wanted was one. One simple fish would have made this day worth it.


Would God not give a man dressed in Orvis a fish if he asked?

My thoughts:
This is an excellent book for young men on the verge of reaching adulthood. It's very interesting to read a man's point of view on growing up and learning how to deal with things in a spiritual way. I also feel that if you are a mama of a young boy this will help you in raising him. You'll get a perspective that you wouldn't have otherwise. Wonderful resource!


Friday, July 23, 2010

Rise Up and Sing - Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:

Lex Buckley

and the book:

David C. Cook (July 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, for The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Lex Buckley has worked for Soul Survivor Ministries in the UK as one of their worship pastors, alongside Tim Hughes and Ben Cantelon. She has sung on albums such as Matt Redman’s Facedown and Soul Survivor’s live albums We Must Go and Love Came Down and has released an EP with Survivor Records, Through the Valley. Lex and her husband Paul now live in Jacksonville, Florida, where they head up the worship department at River City Church. They recently became the proud parents of Bella and Finn.


Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434700585
ISBN-13: 978-1434700582

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The call to lead


Do you ever look around you and wonder where all the female worship leaders are? I don’t know about you, but I predominantly see men leading worship. In many cases this is because women have not been encouraged to step into any church leadership roles. But amidst this reality is one thing that excites me more than anything:Through all the arguments for and against women in leadership roles, we see in the Bible that God does use women to lead His people in worship.


The book of Exodus tells us about the life of Miriam. We don’t know too much about Miriam, but we do know she was a prophetess and one of the leaders of Israel alongside her brother Aaron (they both led under the authority of Moses). She was also a worshipper. In Exodus 15:20–21, after God had parted

the Red Sea and the Israelites had escaped the Egyptians, it says, “Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. Miriam sang to them: ‘Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.’”


The word sing in Hebrew used here is shiru, which is a masculine, plural command. This means that Miriam is addressing men and women in verse 21. The natural reading of the Hebrew is that Miriam leads a group of women who become her backing vocalists (so to speak) as she leads the whole community in worship. Some might question that she actually led them in worship because it says she sang to them.


But throughout the Psalms, we see the psalmists write songs like this, encouraging others to worship God (Psalm 30:4, Psalm 33:1–3). The psalmists wrote songs to God, about God, and to the Israelites encouraging them to worship God, just as many worship songs do today.


Miriam’s response to what God had done was to worship Him and then encourage the people of Israel to worship Him with her. At the end of the day, a worship leader is a passionate worshipper who through their voice and instrument encourages others to worship God as they seek to worship Him themselves. And this is what Miriam did. She was a worshipper whom God used to lead His people in worship for His glory.


So now that we know that God does use women to lead worship, the question is whether He is calling you to lead. Here are some general questions you might want to ask yourself to begin the process of finding your answer.


Are you a passionate worshipper?


The most obvious and important question is, do you love to worship God? More than anything a worship leader must be a worshipper. Genuine worshippers are people who are just as passionate about pouring out their praise to God when they are on their own as when they are at church. As Mike Pilavachi, leader of Soul Survivor Ministries in the UK, always says, “You can’t lead people somewhere you haven’t been yourself.” Our first passion must always be to worship God, and it’s only out of our passion to worship Him that He will call us to lead others.


Do you have the practical skills required to lead worship?


Another important factor is skill. Can you sing in tune? Are you musical? You don’t have to have an incredible voice to lead worship, but if you can’t sing in tune, leading sung worship might not be your

gift. Not everyone who starts out leading worship has a fantastic voice or is an incredible musician (and not all worship leaders lead on an instrument), but if you’re called to lead worship, usually those in leadership over you will see your potential, and it will be clear to them that you are someone to invest in.


Have others confirmed that you are called to lead worship?


If you are called to lead worship, usually those around you will be in agreement. But if leading worship is something that you’re passionate about and you have not been encouraged to step out in it yet, ask your pastor, ask your friends, ask those around you who will be honest with you. Make sure you aren’t just asking your mother though! Mine thinks I should try out for Australian Idol, and although I am so grateful that she totally believes in me, I know full well that I am not gifted enough to do well in a competition like that! You’ve got to trust that if you are called to lead worship and it’s the right time for you to step out, those around you will encourage you to do so.


Are you being given opportunities to lead worship?


If you are called to lead worship, opportunities will arise for you to do so. I never had to try to push doors open myself—God opened them in His timing. First, I began singing backing vocals at church. Then I led worship in my small group for a season. Later I began coleading at church, and after six months of coleading, I finally began leading on my own. I know it might seem more appealing to just start leading up front at church straightaway, but the journey that God took me on totally prepared me for what was

ahead. Leading a band, trying to remember the lyrics, melody, and chords for the songs, and arranging the band are all pretty tough sometimes, especially while trying to listen to the Holy Spirit and follow where He is leading. I would not have been ready to lead on my own at church if I had been thrown into it without all those years of worshipping on my own and leading in small groups. So value every opportunity given to you, because every opportunity enables you to learn and grow.


You may not be able to fully answer all these questions yet, but if you feel passionate about leading worship, keep worshipping God. Keep growing in the practical aspects of leading worship, and trust that He will give you confirmation and will open the doors for you to lead if that is something He has created you to do.


My thoughts:
I admit I never really thought of women in leadership roles in a church. I mean what I always saw was the preacher's wife running a bake sale or helping out in a food and clothes pantry. Now that's not saying she didn't do more, that was just my observation. When I started blogging and reading blogs, and Facebooking I've seen so much more in women's leadership. It's wonderful and amazing. And I LOVE how these women inspire others. Now that I look back I think it was quite possible that these ladies might have possibly led others to be inspired and grow in their faith.

When reading this book I thought it was wonderful how the author showed how not everyone stepped right into a leadership position but had to move their way up. It's a very revealing book.



Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gotta Have It - Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010) 

***Special thanks to Karen Davis of The B&B Media Groupfor sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Dr. Gregg Jantz is the founder of The Center—A Place of Hope and the best-selling author (with Ann McMurray) of 25 books including Hope, Help, and Healing for Eating Disorders. His center is a leading healthcare facility in the Seattle, Washington area and specializes in whole-person care serving clients internationally.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434766241
ISBN-13: 978-1434766243

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


A Toddler’s Tale

These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction. (Isa. 30:9)


Who hasn’t viewed an irate toddler in a store, yelling at the top of his tiny lungs, demanding the object of his heart’s desire? In the mind of that boy, he needs the candy, the toy, the bag, the box, or whatever. In

his mind, what he wants is what he needs.


Recently, I found myself in the grocery store at the end of a long day, needing to pick up milk on my way home from work. I was tired, distracted, and just wanted to be home. It turns out I wasn’t the only unhappy person in that store. A couple of aisles over, a little girl began keening loudly. I admit, grocery stores are incubators of human nature that I find irresistible, so—milk temporarily forgotten—I walked over to observe.


Usually I’m most interested in how the adult in the situation deals with the child. Believe me, over the years I’ve seen a variety of styles—some that have made me smile and some that have made me cringe. This time, however, I was focused on the child. This two-year-old was gesturing desperately, fingers extended, at some object just out of reach. The important thing to me wasn’t what she was looking at, but rather how she was seeing it. In her mind, the object wasn’t a mere want—it had become a need. When her mother denied it to her, she became absolutely bereft, carrying on in a way only a despondent, denied toddler can.


As I made my way to the dairy section, through the checkout line, and back into my car, I kept thinking about how this kind of behavior is typical of small children. But I had to ask myself—do we ever really get over that?


Fast-forward into adulthood and you’ll find the same thing: wants masquerading as needs. When we were two, we cried out to a parent to fill our heartfelt desires; as adults we endeavor to fill them ourselves. Once a desire has been categorized as a need, we’re pretty resourceful at finding a way to fill it—even when our methods are addictive, damaging, or hurtful. In our current credit-card-toting, get-it-now-but-pay-for-it-later society, we’re about as happy with the words no and not now as that bawling two-year-old.


Add to that our concept of “rights.” Once we’ve identified a desire as a need, we tend to demand the right to fill that need. Deep down, we seem to acknowledge that a desire doesn’t quite meet the level of a basic need. Desires can be selfish, but a need is always a moral necessity. Once our desire gets translated into a need, it becomes a necessity in our lives; we’re pretty militant about getting that newly defined need met.


This leads me to a question: Are you ready to take a deep, hard look at your own self-identified needs? I’ve found generally people haven’t really done any sort of intentional, directed work in this area. Mainly, they have a vaguely articulated sense of what they consider needs in their lives. Sometimes the only true way to determine how you really look at a particular aspect of your life—as a desire or as a need—is through your behaviors and your willingness or unwillingness to change. We’re willing to change, postpone, modify, or even relinquish a desire; we tend to take an over-my-dead-body approach to anything we think is a need.


Lest you think this book is only going to be about what you think or I think, I want to establish the overriding theme we’ll be using, which doesn’t come from you or me. The theme of this book comes from Jesus, speaking to a crowd of people very much like us, with desires and needs and a difficult time differentiating between the two. They were just as apt to run after desires masquerading as needs. In Matthew 6:31–33, Jesus said, “So do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Even if we don’t have a good handle on what our needs are, God does. And not only is He God, He’s also our Father. And as a father, He’s generous. He knows our needs, and He has a plan to supply them—and much more as well.


Background Noise

Have you ever experienced the sheer relief that silence brings? There are days, with two rambunctious boys in my house, when the noise reaches an incredible decibel. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to be

right there in the mix with them. But there’s something about the calm and serenity silence brings. There are times silence is just what my jangled senses need to be still and hear God.


In some ways, all of the excessities of life come with their own noise. They fill up our lives but leave no room for silence and contemplation, for rest and relief. God, when He fills us up, does so through a whisper, through the breath of the Spirit. A little of God goes a lot further than a great deal of anything else. King David put it this way in Psalm 84:10: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” When we feed on God, we diminish our compulsion to binge on anything else. Just as a toddler must trust a parent to know how to supply true needs, we, as children of God, must look to our heavenly Father to do the same. Our challenge is to approach God, our Father, with the faith and trust of a child.


The Bottom Line from Job

There is a story in the Old Testament book of Job about a man who faced this question of what is a desire and what is a need. This man, Job, is literally stripped of all of the things that made up his life. It is not an easy book to read or understand, but it’s very instructive in determining desires verses needs.


At the beginning of the book God and Satan have a discussion about Job, and God agrees to allow Satan to test Job’s commitment to God. In the first test, God allows Satan to take away all of Job’s possessions, including his children, but doesn’t allow him to harm Job physically. In the course of a single day, all of Job’s livestock, sheep, camels, servants, and children are killed or taken away from him. At the end of this single day, Job still praises God.


Not to be deterred, Satan comes again and this time asks to remove Job’s health from him. God agrees but says Satan may not take his life. Satan promptly strikes Job with painful boils from head to foot.


God establishes the bottom line with Satan where Job is concerned. Throughout the book of Job, no matter what else happens to him, Job has his physical needs met enough for him to continue to live. Job’s desires for understanding, vindication, relief, and restoration have to wait. With nearly everything taken away from him, it becomes clearer to see what constitutes a true need. In our own lives, we need that kind of clarity.


Unraveling Needs and Wants

It can be very difficult to determine what you consider a desire and a need in your life. When asked, you may give what you think should be the right answer instead of the truth. You may admit, reluctantly, that you don’t really need your morning coffee. However, when faced with the choice of being late to work because the line at the Starbucks is eight cars deep or going without your morning beverage … well … “It’s just work.” You may concede that your late-night snack of cookies and ice cream is not really a need, but you’ll leave your house at 9:47 at night with a coat over your pajamas to drive to the store in

order to replenish your Ben & Jerry’s.


Desires are things you want; you can do without them, but you still want them. Life goes on in their absence, but having them would certainly enhance it. Needs, however, have a greater sense of urgency.

A desire deferred is inconvenient, even uncomfortable, but a need denied is depravation. So, how can we trust that what we define as a need is really a need? And how can we be honest about what category our perceived needs actually fall into?


It’s difficult for us to put ourselves in Job’s position because of the extreme devastation of what Job initially experiences. So let’s go for something a little bit easier. I’d like you to take a moment and think about life on a desert island. I’m not really thinking of the Swiss Family Robinson type of island. If you’ve seen the movie Castaway with Tom Hanks, this is the picture I’m working toward. I want you to picture yourself stranded on a desert island, in the middle of nowhere, with very few resources. You need to survive—yes, survival is a bona fide need. So, what do you need to survive? (Because you’re on the planet, assume you’ve got something to breathe so you can move past that most primal need of life, oxygen.) Write down your top three needs:


What I would need in order to survive

1.

2.

3.


If I were to answer this question myself, I’d say water, food, and shelter are my primary needs. Actually, these are pretty much what Jesus mentioned in the Matthew 6 passage. He put it as what to eat, what to drink, and what to wear. (Clothing is really a form of shelter, so I’m going to accept the similarity.) Those are pretty basic. In fact, outside of this prosperous nation of ours, a good deal of the human population spends a large portion of their time and energy searching after these basic needs. Go too long without water and you die of thirst. Go too long without food and you die of hunger. Go too long without shelter and you die of exposure. Needs can be determined by how essential they are to sustaining life.


Ahhhh, there’s the dilemma, isn’t it? When we consider what is essential to life, we aren’t always talking about physical life, are we? We have an emotional, relational, and spiritual life to go with this physical one. So, go back and relabel your needs list as “My Physical Needs.”


Now, I want you to come up with at least three needs under each of the other categories.


My Emotional Needs:

1.

2.

3.


My Relational Needs:

1.

2.

3.


My Spiritual Needs:

1.

2.

3.



Under emotional needs, you might have such things as optimism, hope, joy. Relational needs might include things like acceptance, affirmation, forgiveness. And for spiritual needs, perhaps you listed things like faith, trust, praise. I share these with you not to say that these are definitive answers, but to give you an idea of the types of things you could choose. Again, I find that many people have never done this type of inventory, let alone put intentional thought into dealing with these types of questions.


Going back to our desert-island exercise, we’ve already established what our physical needs are, but, as Jesus said in Luke 4:4, referencing Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man does not live on bread alone.” So, let’s say you’ve got your physical needs taken care of. You’ve got food to eat, water to drink, and shelter from the elements. What other three things would you personally want (or desire) to survive on that island?


What I would want in order to survive:

1.

2.

3.


After thinking about it myself, here’s what I’d want: a Bible, a purpose, and a chance of escape. Even though we’ve categorized these as wants (or desires), they’re still pretty important. I doubt any of you

would seriously put lattes and ice cream on this list. When reduced to choices of these kinds, those behaviors are pretty easy to label.


Short of being stranded on a desert island or experiencing a Jobtype catastrophe, it can be difficult to stop long enough to make sense of our busy lives. That’s what this book is designed to help you do. In the next chapter, we’re going to start by looking at the most common ways I’ve seen over my twenty-five years in counseling that people try to fill themselves up. These ways all have a similar “if some is good, more is better” deception, leading to compulsive, impulsive behavior.


Next, we’re going to begin to identify our real needs because every person who engages in excessive behavior has a true need at the core of that behavior. By discovering what those core needs are, we can detach the power of the need from the excess of the behavior and begin meeting the need in a positive, healing way. Finally, we’ll look at the gifts God gives us to meet our true needs. We’ll bring the words of Jesus from Matthew 6 full circle and learn how to live with our needs fulfilled as we seek His kingdom and His righteousness.

My thoughts:

Do you know what you truly need in this world? Do you realize that some of your needs are actually wants in disguise? What we think we need and what another thinks they need differ. But what does Jesus think we need? That's what this book delves into.

I know with my daughter she wants, wants, wants....doesn't need it but thinks she does. How can you help them to realize that? This book takes a deep look at wants vs. needs and how to go about ending that wanting. I admit it's kinda hard to read. It makes you think. Something some of us don't want to do. LOL

I think it would be a good book for a group study in church or even with your friends.